Joe Bruno has six of the top nine books on Amazon/Canada in the category “Hot New Releases – Gangs.
“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps-Volume 1″ is ranked #1, Volume 3 is ranked #2, and Volume 2 is ranked #3.
Joe Bruno has six of the top nine books on Amazon/Canada in the category “Hot New Releases – Gangs.
“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps-Volume 1″ is ranked #1, Volume 3 is ranked #2, and Volume 2 is ranked #3.
Joe Bruno had nine of the top twenty ranked books on Amazon.com in the category “Hot New Releases – Biographies & Memoirs of Criminals.”
“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps-Volume 1 – New York City” is ranked #1.
“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps – Volume 1″ was the runner up in the 2013 eFestival of Words Best of the Independent Book Awards in the category “General Nonfiction.”
And it’s only 99 cents on Amazon Kindle and discounted to $8.96 in paperback.
Another five star-review for Joe Bruno’s “Whitey Bulger – The Biggest Rat.” This one was posted on Goodreads.com.
Marcella Tadeo rated it 5 of 5 stars
“I have to agree that Whitey Bulger was the biggest rat, and nobody likes a rat. I tried to say that last sentence with menace. I hope it came through.
The book is surprising for how much loyalty the man inspired when he was turning everyone over to the feds. What a hypocrite. No honor among thieves and all that, yada-yada.
I thought the book was very well researched. It was full of details and facts one could look up if one were inclined. It was presented without contempt. Just the facts. The facts were enough to prove the title is correct.”
When Arlyne was 16, Irving Weiss moved his family out of Knickerbocker Village and into the tony Queens neighborhood of Forest Hills. Part of the reason for the move was that Irving Weiss was tired of his wife complaining about Arlyne’s late night trysts with men like Tony Mirra, and they figured Forrest Hills was not the sort of place when a young girl would likely come face to face with a gangster.
Yet, both Irving and his wife, Billie, underestimated Arlyne’s adventurous nature. Nearby Queens Boulevard was teeming with mobbed-up nightclubs, and Arlyne found the perfect partner for her night and sometimes daytime excursions to Queens Boulevard – a high school truant floosy named Sophie.
The teenagers’ favorite hangout was a Queens Boulevard dive inaptly named the Carlton Terrace. The Clinton Street Boys, who Arlyne had become acquainted with at The Blum and Oxford Funeral Parlor, used the Carlton Terrace as their hangout, where men were often seen in the company of women who were not their wives. For this reason alone, Arlyne and Sophie fit right into the ribald crowd. Both teenagers had numerous affairs with men more than twice their age; sometimes in the seedy restrooms in the back.
Obviously, the words “class” and “Arlyne Weiss” should never be used in the same sentence.
Soon, Arlyne became arm-candy for several gangsters, who took her to the race track and to the big fights at Madison Square Garden.
Retired FBI agent, Oliver Hale, who later became Arlyne’s FBI handler after she turned rat, said on the Bio Channel’s Mob Ladies, “I think Arlyne absolutely loved her lifestyle with the mob. It excited her. She was not someone who would go to work every day behind a desk. That was not Arlyne.”
After striking up an acquaintance with middleweight champion Rocky Graziano at the Capri Beach Club in Atlantic Beach, Long Island, Arlyne became enamored with featherweight contender Al Pennino. Arlyne had numerous trysts with Pennino, usually at the Hotel America down the street from Stillman’s Gym where Al trained.
Al got his big break when he was signed to fight future featherweight champion Sandy Sadler at the St. Nick’s Arena in Manhattan. Sadler, exceedingly tall for a featherweight, was known to be a brutal and sometimes dirty fighter, with the punch of a mule. Sadler was also not opposed to raking the laces of his gloves across an opponent’s eyes, and then counter with savage left hooks and right crosses to his blinded opponent.
It’s common knowledge in the fight game, when a fighter is in training for a fight, he must avoid having sex for as long as six weeks leading up to the night of the fight.
“It kills the legs,” is the old boxing maxim.
However, Arlyne was sex crazed, and Pennino was so captivated by the sex-hungry teenager, they spent their nights at the Hotel Americana right up until the night before his fight with Sadler.
When he got into the ring with Sadler, Pennino had nothing. Referee Al Donavan stopped the massacre at 1:06 of the 4th round. Pennino, once a promising fighter, was so devastated and irreparably damaged in the Sadler fight, his career went into a kamikaze nosedive. Pennino won only three fights after being wiped out by Sadler, and he ended his career in mid-1951with seventeen straight losses.
Whereas Arlyne basked in the glow of being in the company a word-class fighter, when Pennino became nothing more than an inept stumblebum, she ditched Pennino to look for bigger and better things.
Enter rich clothing manufacturer Nat Nelson.
Nelson, then 48-years-old to Arlyne’s 17-years-old, was a friend of Irving Weiss. Nelson was a confirmed bachelor, who wore his hair in such a flattened style, his friends called him “Flattop,” after a mob character in the Dick Tracy comics.
Irving Weiss saw the attention Nelson was giving his teenage daughter, and he forbid Arlyne to see the man almost three times her age. But Nelson treated Arlyne like a Jewish princess, and he showered her with fine clothes and sparkling jewelry. Finally, to show how much he really cared, Nelson asked Arlyne to marry him. Arlyne stalled Nelson, but she still continued to see him.
Nelson took Arlyne to the fanciest Italian restaurants in town, most notably the Grotta Azzurra at 177 Mulberry Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy (Grotta Azzurra was founded in 1908 and was still going strong in 2014). At these dinner get-togethers, Nelson would invite the aforementioned Jimmy Doyle (James Plumeri) to join him and Arlyne for a little veal saltimbocca washed down by an aged Chianti. Because Nelson used Doyle’s trucking company to transports his goods, Nelson and Doyle had a partnership of sorts. Doyle provided the services, and if he wanted to stay out of the hospital, Nelson paid handsomely for Doyle’s troubles.
However, it became obvious to Arlyne that Nelson, because of his loud and braggadocio behavior, was starting to wear thin on Doyle. On several occasions, when Nelson started popping off at the mouth about how tight he was with “the boys,” Doyle would either turn his back on Nelson, or exit the scene completely. It was obvious to Arlyne that Nelson was on Doyle’s shit list, but it never occurred to her why, or that it could become a problem.
The fact was, Nelson was not very prompt in paying Doyle what Doyle thought he owned him, both for Doyle’s trucking services and for Nelson’s shylocking debts. In Doyle’s line of work, bad payers had to be dealt with severely, or other customers would get the idea Doyle was a jerkoff and that they didn’t have to pay Doyle either.
In February 1952, Arlyne and Grandma Ida set out on a shopping spree in midtown Manhattan. Of course, Arlyne had no money of her own, so she told the cab driver to stop in front of Nelson’s apartment building on 55th Street. Figuring she’d touch Nelson for a few hundred bucks to go shopping, Arlyne took the elevator to the fifth floor. Nelson’s door was unlocked, so Arlyne, never the shy one, pushed the door open.
“There was Jimmy, just in the middle of shooting him (Nelson),” Arlyne said. “He shot him right between the eyes at close range. I was scared for my life.”
Doyle could have shot Arlyne between the eyes too, and there would have been no witnesses. Instead, Doyle shot Arlyne the evil eye. Then Doyle rushed out of the apartment and into the elevator.
Arlyne collected herself for a few moments. Then she slipped out of Nathan’s apartment, took the elevator to the ground floor, exited the building, and rushed to the cab, where Grandma Ida was expecting to see a roll of green to fund their shopping excursion.
Instead, Arlyne jumped into the back seat, and said to Ida, “We’re getting the hell outta here! I’m taking you home!”
A few days later, Arlyne got the phone call she was dreading. It was from Jimmy Doyle. Doyle told Arlyne he had to see her right away.
“Why do ya want to see me?” she asked Doyle.
“You know why I want to see you,” Doyle said.
Doyle ordered Arlyne to meet him in the lobby of the Hotel Forest, near Times Square in the heart of the Theater District. Arlyne figured this was a crowded area, and she would be seen in the lobby. That meant if she disappeared, or found dead in the streets, Doyle would be the prime suspect. Figuring Doyle had sex and not murder on his mind, Arlyne dressed in her most provocative outfit, and she covered her shoulders with a snazzy platina fox stole, a pale white-marked bluish-gray creation that was rage of the early 1950’s. Arlyne figured if she was getting whacked, she was “going out in style.”
Arlyne sashayed into the lobby of the Hotel Forrest, and she was met by Doyle who wasn’t smiling. Without saying a word, Doyle went to the front desk and got a key to a room. Arlyne made sure the desk clerk saw her, and then she followed Doyle into the elevator.
When they got to the room, Doyle had barely put on the lights when he told Arlyne how it was going to be. Arlyne was going to sexually satisfy Doyle now and whenever Doyle wanted to be serviced. If she was a good girl and did things right, Arlyne would have the privilege of not getting whacked.
Arlyne did what she was told and what she knew how to do as good as any woman. When Doyle was finished doing what he wanted to do for as long as he wanted to do it, he dismissed Arlyne with, “Now get the fuck outta here. I’ll call ya when I need ya.”
Their liaisons went on for a while, and then Arlyne got to thinking. Doyle was a dead end as far as a relationship was concerned, so why not spill the beans to her mother, who would certainly tell her father, a man still highly respected in mob circles. After telling her shrink her plans and being encouraged by her shrink to do so, Arlyne told her mother, Billie, about the bullet hole in Nelson’s forehead and who put it there. She also told mom that she was spending way too much time on her knees and on her back in the company of Jimmy Doyle. Billie told Irving Weiss, and Irving Weiss knew what he had to do.
Irving requested a sitdown with Doyle, and he was granted such a request. At this meeting, Irving told Doyle that Arlyne was getting bedsores being in Doyle’s company, and that was no way to treat a pal’s daughter. Irving also assured Doyle that Arlyne had absolutely no memory of what had happened to Nelson, and even if she did remember what happened to Nelson, she would never squeal on an associate of her father.
Doyle, probably tiring of Arlyne anyway, agreed to stop trysting with her, with the implied promise that Arlyne would forget about Nelson’s untimely demise.
Although Arlyne said in Mob Girl that she was unaware of Irving Weiss’s meeting with Doyle, she would have to be a moron to think Doyle would stop bothering her out of the goodness of his heart.
The next thing Arlyne knew, she was off to sunny Florida with her mom, promising Billie her days of flirting with gangsters was a thing of the past. That promise lasted about a month, and soon, back in New York City, Arlyne was cruising the Carlton Terrace looking for a little action.
After sleeping around with gangsters after gangster, in the next five years, Arlyne got pregnant eight times. Because each hood she claimed was the father didn’t believe her because of her “reputation,” Arlyne had an abortion each time; paid for by her mother with her father’s money, unbeknownst to her father.
In the doctor’s waiting room while awaiting her eighth abortion, Arlyne met Norman Brinkman, who was waiting for a young girl whom he had gotten pregnant to get an abortion too (You can’t make up stuff like this). One word led to another, and Arlyne, minutes away from her abortion, put the moves on Brinkman, who was a mousy little creep advancing on his fourth decade in life. Brinkman impressed Arlyne with the fact he was in the “fur business” with people who were friends of her father. They exchanged phone numbers, and after Arlyne recuperated from her “operation,” the two met for a quiet date.
Playing the part of an honest man, Brinkman told Arlyne he was married, but he said he was on the precipice of a divorce. This perked Arlyne’s interest, since Brinkman seemed like a nice enough fellow (after all he accompanied the girl he had gotten pregnant to the abortionist’s office), and also because something very traumatic had just happened in the Weiss household that pissed off Arlyne to no end.
Arlyne’s sister, Barbara, had announced she was getting married, which meant Barbara was getting all the attention from Arlyne’s parents. This was something Arlyne could not endure, so she hoodwinked Brinkman, still married, into a proposal of marriage, which Arlyne eagerly accepted.
This did not go over too good with Irving and Billie Weiss.
First of all, Brinkman was more than a decade-and-a-half Arlyne’s senior. And second, Irving Weiss, a sharpshooter if there ever was one, thought maybe Brinkman was interested in Arlyne because of Irving Weiss’s substantial bank account.
But Arlyne would have none of that. As soon as the ink was dry on Brinkman’s divorce papers, Arlyne and Brinkman sped off to Greenwich, Connecticut for a “quickie marriage” before a justice of the peace – take that Barbara Weiss.
Brinkman, realizing Irving Weiss did not like him too much, became the “husband from hell.” He mistreated Arlyne in their snazzy Upper East Side apartment; constantly criticizing her cooking and her household-management skills.
That Arlyne could take.
But one Friday night, after only being married a few weeks, Brinkman went out for some air, and he didn’t return home until Sunday afternoon – no explanation, no nothing. Brinkman repeated this routine almost every Friday night.
Arlyne, having been around the block few times herself, knew what this meant – Norman Brinkman was a lying, two-timing, cheating bastard husband.
Arlyne hired a private detective, who found out, to Arlyne’s dismay, Brinkman had a girlfriend, who was quite pregnant. Then a poor young thing, named Frances, knocked on Arlyne’s apartment door. Frances turned out to be the same girl who was getting an abortion when Arlyne met Brinkman in the abortionist’s office. And guess what? Frances was pregnant again with Brinkman’s child.
At that point, Arlyne had had enough of Brinkman. She said, “This son-of-a-bitch has got to go!”
Arlyne knew that Brinkman had been pilfering furs from his distributors; a scheme Brinkman foolishly had shared the details with his lovely new wife. So for the first time, Arlyne became a cheese-eating rat (and as we shall see, this became a recurring theme). Arlyne called the cops, and she told them the details of Brinkman’s criminal offenses.
Brinkman was arrested and charged with grand larceny. Knowing his wife had given the prosecutors irrefutable evidence, Brinkman cut himself a deal, which netted him less than a year in Sing Sing Prison. This was fine and dandy with Arlyne, except for one little thing – she was now pregnant again, and Brinkman knew she was pregnant.
Still, Arlyne, knowing her father would never let a grandchild of his go without, wanted a divorce, and she wanted it badly. Arlyne wrote a letter to Brinkman, who was stewing in Sing Sing, politely asking for a divorce.
According to Mob Girl, Brinkman wrote back saying, “As long as I’m rotting, you’re going to rot too!”
Arlyne Brinkman soon gave birth to Leslie Rebecca Brinkman. But Arlyne still had to deal with her rat-bastard of a husband, who had put his girlfriend on the prison list of allowed visitors as “his wife.”
After Brinkman was released on parole, instead of going back to his wife, Brinkman shacked up with his girlfriend, a delightful young thing named Chickie. Knowing this was the perfect scenario for her to get her divorce; Arlyne dialed the phone number of her favorite private detective to put in motion a plan for her to rid her of Brinkman for good.
The deal was to have someone, in concert with the private detective, get inside Chickie’s apartment, to verify she was playing house with Brinkman while he was still married to Arlyne. Since Arlyne’s parents did not want to get intimately involved, they sent their maid, Sadie, to join the private detective in gathering the evidence needed.
The private detective, with Sadie in tow, knocked on the door of Chickie’s apartment. Brinkman, thinking with his wrong head, opened the door clad only in his underwear. While the private detective spun Brinkman to the side, Sadie busted inside the apartment, and as were her instructions, she headed towards the bedroom.
But before she got there, Chickie, holding a newborn baby in her arms, confronted Sadie and screamed, ‘Get the hell out of my apartment!”
Sadie smiled. The private detective smiled. And they exited the apartment in a much better mood than they were in before they had entered.
Soon afterwards, Irving Weiss stepped into the scene. He ordered Brinkman to a meeting, where Irving laid down the law. It was to be this way. Brinkman would agree to an uncontested divorce, and Brinkman would give up all claims to his baby daughter. In return, Irving Weiss would assume all responsibilities in supporting both Arlyne and the baby. Brinkman would be totally out of the picture, and he wouldn’t have to pay a cent either in alimony, or in child support.
To a creep like Brinkman this deal sounded too good to be true. So he took it.
When Arlyne stood in front of the judge to cement the divorce decree, the judge asked Arlyne if she wanted to accept one dollar in the settlement, so that she could, in the future, go back into court to receive proper remunerations from Brinkman.
“No, I don’t want a dollar; I don’t want a single dime,” Arlyne told the judge. “I just want to be rid of him.”
Arlyne saw Brinkman just one more time, and that was just a week after their divorce became final. Arlyne was proudly pushing her baby, Leslie, in a stroller, when Brinkman appeared out of nowhere and confronted Arlyne.
Arlyne said, not too nicely, “What do you want?”
Brinkman smiled. “I just want to see what my daughter looks like.”
After peeking at this daughter’s face, Brinkman then told Arlyne he was moving to California, and out of her and her daughter’s life for good. That’s said; Brinkman spun on his heels, and he exited stage right, never to be seen by Arlyne again.
That night, Arlyne went home and removed any photos from photo albums that even hinted Brinkman had ever existed. And when Leslie became old enough to inquire as to whom her father was, Arlyne simply told her daughter her father was dead. And to Arlyne, Brinkman was dead, very dead indeed.
Arlyne claimed she lost her virginity when she was only 12 years old, and it happened in The Blum and Oxford Funeral Parlor.
As was reported in Arlyne’s bio, Mob Girl, written by Theresa Carpenter, “One Friday evening her cousin, Solly, only slightly older but infinitely more experience, invited her into the tiny guest bedroom to play ‘doctor.’ He guided her to the bed, removed her panties and tried putting his fingers in her.
Solly’s fingers hit a blockage, and he stopped what he was doing. Arlyne recalled experiencing no particular physical sensation.
Arlyne was sufficiently intrigued, however, that the following week, when Solly again beckoned her into the little bedroom, she willingly followed him. This time Solly climbed on top of her, and he forced his penis inside of her. Arlyne felt a sharp pain, and then she began to bleed.
She ran to the bathroom crying.
Soon, in quick succession, Arlyne had sexual relations with Stamey, an automobile salesman she had met at Chester Motors, and Sal, who owned a bakery shop across the street from Knickerbocker Village. She also had sex with the son of a Senator who lived in Knickerbocker Village, whom Arlyne seduced while standing up in the secluded winding Knickerbocker Village cellar which connected all 12 buildings in the Knickerbocker Village complex.
The Knickerbocker Village cellars being her main base of operation, Arlyne had sex with any boy or man who was willing, which comprised a good portion of the Knickerbocker Village male population.
Irving Weiss made his biggest scores during the chaos of World War II. While the vast majority of Americans struggled with rationing coupons, Irving Weiss was a kingpin in the black marketing of these coupons.
“My father had ties with the mob,” Arlyne said. “He was involved with very bad boys,
like Joe Adonis and Meyer Lansky; people who would kill you at the drop of a hat.”
Soon after the war began, the Emergency Price Control Act of January 1942 gave the Office of Price Administration (OPA) the authority to set and regulate the prices of most goods, including, eggs, butter, sugar, and women’s nylons. In March 1942, the OPA started a rationing program, the purpose of which was to “control consumer prices and inflation, and guarantee a fair distribution of goods for everyone during the course of the war.”
Car owners were limited to only four gallons of gas a week; the idea of which was to limit the drivers’ cars to the maximum of 5000 miles a year. Of course, less driving meant less wear and tear on tires, and this persevered rubber for use in the war effort. In 1944, the Federal government reduced the ration of gas to only two gallons a week; hardly enough to transport Weiss and his family to their summer vacation in the cool mountains of the Catskills and winters to the balmy beaches of Florida.
Then there was the problem of Irving Weiss’s family and his gangster buddies being able to enjoy their frequent steak dinners.
In late 1942, meat rationing became a reality. The United States government told its citizens each family would be limited to only 2.5 pounds of beef per week, or 130 pounds of beef a year. In the Weiss household, 2.5 pounds of beef was about half their nightly dinner. Luckily, Irving Weiss lived in the northeast, because in the Great Plains states people were urged to eat horse meat instead of filet mignon and ground beef.
At first, Irving Weiss got his rationing books the gangster way – he stole them.
Rationing Board offices dotted the five boroughs throughout New York City. Irving Weiss, along with a few of his mob cronies, picked the right time and the right place, and they barged into the Rationing Board office, guns drawn and demanded the rationing coupons. The hoods met no resistance, and in fact, were surprised the Rationing Board employees gave up the goods so quickly and easily.
After a few Rationing Board raids, Irving realized the workers in the Rationing Board offices were eager to make a few bucks themselves. So, instead of the mobsters raiding the Rationing Board offices holding guns and wearing masks, they arranged for the inside workers to do the stealing for them. The inventory of rationing coupons was so lax and ineffective, most times the thefts went undetected. And if a Rationing Board boss got wise, he would be threatened by Weiss and his boys to look the other way and take a cut himself, or run the risk of being a casualty of war.
After WWII, now flush with cash, Irving Weiss set up shop in the Art Deco District in Miami. Weiss bought part-ownership in a seedy nightclub on Washington Avenue in Miami Beach called The Paddock Club. The Paddock Club was not a place for gentle-hearted souls. The entertainment was risqué, and the language used by the comedians, including the infamous B.S. Pulley, was foul enough to make a sailor blush.
One of Irving Weiss’s partners was the suave but sadistic Italian mobster Joe “Adonis” Doto (he was called “Adonis” because Doto bragged he was as handsome as the Greek god). This is where young Arlyne (she was not yet a teenager) got her first whiff of the intoxifying aroma of Mobsterdom, which wafted like toxic gas from Adonis’s pores.
“There was nothing like a mob guy,” Arlyne said. “They dressed like you never saw in your whole life. They looked like they stepped right out of The Godfather.”
The Weiss family spent the cold winters in Florida, but nine months out of the year Irving Weiss held court in his Upper Manhattan car dealership. Among his frequent visitors were the uncle and nephew team of Jimmy Plumeri and Johnny Dioguardi (called Jimmy Doyle and Johnny Dio), who took over the Garment Center rackets when Louie Lepke and his partner Jacob “Gurrah” Shapiro were put out of commission by the law (Lepke, the head of Murder Incorporated, was fried in Sing Sing’s electric chair, while Shapiro was awarded a lifetime membership in the federal pen).
In the early 1940s, a team of crooks had the audacity to break into Chester Motors during the middle of the night. Part of the crooks’ booty was a huge diamond ring which belonged to Irving Weiss’s bother, Henry. Unfortunately for the perpetrators, nothing is a secret in the Underworld. Irving phoned his pals Doyle and Dio, and in less than a day an envelope containing the ring was slipped under Chester Motors’ front door.
There is no record of what happened to the thieves, but you can bet it wasn’t anything pleasant.
Even though she grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Arlyne decided to take a Midwestern mob moll as her role model. Her name was Virginia Hill, a voluptuous raven-haired beauty, who slept her way up the mob ladder for almost three decades. Eventually, Hill was trusted to move huge amounts of money from her base in Chicago to mob bosses in New York City and to the West Coast city of Los Angeles.
Of course, on these money-transfer vacations Hill did what she did best; on her back or on her knees. One of Hill’s New York City paramours was the aforementioned Joe “Adonis” Doto.”
In the mid-1940s, Hill hooked up with crazed New York City gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. When the mob assigned Siegel to supervise the construction of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, they dispatched Hill to Vegas, ostensibly as Siegel’s girlfriend, but in reality to spy on Siegel to make sure he wasn’t playing fast and easy with the mob’s money.
Although an efficient and eager killer, Siegel was lousy with a buck, especially when it wasn’t his own money. The Flamingo was originally projected to cost the mob around $2 million. But by 1947, when the Flamingo finally opened, the total fee the mob in Chicago, New York, and in California, had invested was a whopping $6 million. Siegel was either unable or unwilling to justify the overpayment, and it was rumored he had sent Hill to Europe to stash cash he had stolen from the mob in numerous safe deposit boxes, particularly in France.
On June 20, 1947, Siegel was reading the Los Angeles Times in the living room of Hill’s Beverly Hills home. Suddenly, a sniper, hiding in the bushes outside the home, fired a .30 caliber military M1 carbine through the window, killing Siegel, while blasting his right eye clear across the room where the police found it nestled against the wall.
Four days earlier, mob bosses in Chicago had ordered Hill to get out of Beverly Hills and to take a trip to France. As a result, Hill was properly shocked and dismayed when the French police knocked on her hotel door and told her that her boyfriend Bugsy had bought the ranch. Hill acted devastated, and she even took an overdose of narcotics to properly display her grief.
Of course, this was all an act, and Hill frolicked around France with her new French boyfriend, hardly giving Bugsy a second thought. When her French boyfriend’s bank account ran out, Hill migrated back to the American mob, where there was still money to be made.
Back in the states, Hill hung around the mob making a nice living, until 1951, when she was called to testify in the nationally-televised “Kefauver Hearings into Organized Crime.”
Wearing a floppy hat and the finest clothes and jewelry, Hill mesmerized the country with her snappy and sometimes vulgar testimony. Hill denied she had any connections to organized crime or to mobsters in general. This was in spite of the fact that a Time Magazine article had anointed Hill as the “Queen of the Gangster Molls.” As for her dead boyfriend, Siegel, Hill told the committee he was just “a businessman who fell in with a rough crowd.”
Hill also told the committee she had supported herself throughout the years with her winnings in horse races (fixed) and through the generosity of her male friends.
When one of the Senators asked Hill privately, in the hallway outside the courtroom, how she was able to finagle so much cash from so many men, Hill replied, “Because I give the best blowjobs, that’s why!”
Arlyne Weiss had just turned 18 when she became aware of Virginia Hill and Hill’s reputation as being a bounce-around broad with the mob. Arlyne, due to her father’s gangster contacts, also knew Hill was full of bull when Hill claimed she wouldn’t know a gangster, even if she tripped over one.
“I would be walking on the Lower East Side with these big hats and tight dresses, and I would think I was really Virginia Hill,” Arlyne said. “I wanted to be just like her.”
As we shall see, Arlyne became as adroit, and possibly more willing than Hill, to orally service her mobster pals. In fact, one mobster was rumored to have told another mobster, “The next sound you hear after Arlyne says ‘hello’ is the sound of your zipper being ripped open.”
Brinkman, Arlyne Weiss – She spent more time on her knees and on her back servicing mobsters than Michelangelo did painting the Sistine Chapel.
Arlyne Weiss Brickman was a slut and a sometime-prostitute. She dispensed blowjobs like the Salvation Army doles out free meals. But what made Arlyne the consummate dirtbag was that she became a rat who ate cheese for several government agencies, including the FBI.
In 1933, Arlyne Weiss was born in a Manhattan Lower East Side tenement to a privileged Jewish family with connections to organized crime. Her father, Irving Weiss, ostensibly was the owner of a car dealership – Chester Motors on 116th Street and Pleasant Avenue in Manhattan. But Irving made most of his money doing what Jewish gangsters of his time did: bookmaking, shylocking and the occasional labor union shakedown. Irving Weiss was friends with Jewish gangster mastermind, Meyer Lansky, and he used his connection to financially set up his family, which included his wife, Billie, and daughters Barbara and Arlyne, with the best of everything – clothes, jewelry, and fancy cars.
In 1936, the Weiss family moved into the newly-built Knickerbocker Village, a 1500-apartment, state-of-the-art housing development in the shadows on the Manhattan Bridge and two blocks from the East River. Knickerbocker Village was built on the site of what was called “Lung Block, because thousands of the crowded neighborhood’s tenement residents died from tuberculosis.
Author’s note: When Irving Weiss moved his family into Knickerbocker Village, the residents were overwhelmingly Jewish and mostly well-to-do. The dirty little secret about KV was that there was a decidedly pro-Communist presence imbedded in the fabric of the Knickerbocker Village tenants. As a result, in 1951, the Rosenbergs, Julius and Ethel, were arrested for treason in their apartment in Knickerbocker Village. In 1953, the Rosenbergs were executed in Sing Sing Prison for their crimes. (This author also lived in Knickerbocker Village from 1964-1996.)
Despite living in the hotbed of Communism, Irving Weiss was a capitalist of the highest order. And this ideology trickled down to his daughter, Arlyne.
Because of her passion for monetary extravagances and unadulterated glitz, Arlyne was drawn to her maternal grandmother, Ida Blum, who owned the Blum Funeral Parlor at 202 East Broadway, a short walk from Knickerbocker Village.
The Blum Funeral Parlor stood out in the neighborhood in many ways. While the surrounding tenements were dirty and decayed, the bottom floor exterior of 202 East Broadway was spit-shined to a bright gloss. Its brass railings sparkled and its front steps were scrubbed of grease and grime.
But although dead bodies of all religions were laid out in the Blum Funeral Parlor, the real action was in a private room next to the mortuary, where “Uncle” Frankie Oxman, supposedly the funeral parlor’s hearse driver, ran a very lucrative gambling business, taking book on everything except two cockroaches racing up the side of the wall. Oxman also had a tidy little side trade selling stolen merchandise, including goods that had fallen off the back of trucks.
“I used to go downstairs where they were taking the bets, and they were putting the money in the caskets,” Arlyne said on the Bio Channel’s Mob Ladies. “And it was just intriguing to look at all that money.”
Ida Blum was ostensibly married to Jake Blum, but it was obvious to all that Jake was merely an impediment to Ida’s romance with Oxman. One day, Jake just packed his bags and left (no explanation was necessary), and the voluptuous Ida, who wore the finest jewelry and the most expensive dresses, continued her affair with Oxman like Jake Blum never had existed. With Jake Blum out of the picture, Ida’s first order of business was to change the name on the canopy outside the funeral parlor from “The Blum Funeral Parlor” to “The Blum and Oxman Funeral Parlor.”
In light of future events, it’s understandable that Ida Blum became her granddaughter Arlyne Weiss’s role model.
At a young age, Arlyne was exposed to Uncle Frankie Oxman’s Jewish mob cronies.
First, there was Uncle Milty Tiller, a shylock of great note. Ida Blum liked Uncle Milty so much, when one of his relatives was on the run from the law, Ida graciously hid the fellow in the basement among the caskets, and once, when necessary, inside one of the caskets.
Arlyne also became acquainted with Izzy Smith, the owner of Zion Monuments, just up the street from the funeral home. Besides doing a brisk business in funeral headstones and monuments, Izzy, like Frankie Oxman, also sold stolen merchandise.
The Clinton Street Boys, who hung out in and around the funeral parlor, were the biggest gangsters in this entire Jewish section of the Lower East Side. These young thugs were labor racketeers, whose specialty was schlammin’, or beating up uncooperative union members who wouldn’t toe the lines drawn by the big mob bosses who ran the garment industry with an iron fist. Other gangsters who were seen in and around The Blum and Oxford Funeral Parlor included Meyer Lansky, Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, Red Levine, and Charles “Lucky” Luciano.
Arlyne’s father, Irving Weiss, came from a prosperous family, which owned a grocery store on Kosciuszko Street in Brooklyn, just across the Williamsburg Bridge. Irving the second eldest of five brothers, didn’t envision being a grocer as his vocation. So Irving, along with his four brothers, opened a funeral parlor on Houston Street in downtown Manhattan. From the beginning, the funeral parlor was a front for Irving’s illegal businesses, which included bookmaking, loansharking, and the occasional leg-breaking ordered by the union bosses.
Soon, Irving met Billie Blum, Ida’s sister, and amongst the dead bodies and bookmaking slips, a romance between the families of two funeral parlor directors blossomed. Irving married Billie, they honeymooned in the Catskills, and one year later Arlyne was born.
In the late 1930s, Irving gave the funeral parlor to two of his brothers, and along with his brother, Henry, he opened Chester Motors. Irving derived the name of his luxury car business (his specialty was selling Rolls-Royces) from the fact a Chesterfield unfiltered cigarette usually dangled from the corner of his snarling mouth.
After all, racketeers have to keep up appearances.
Weiss decorated his showroom as if it were a shrine to himself. The floors were tiled with marble, and wide columns like those in ancient Greece dotted the showroom, which was covered floor to ceiling with spotless mirrors. Arlyne told her girlfriends her father worked in “The House of Mirrors.”